By Andy Tennant
For the Times West Virginian
Sixteen wrestling teams will converge at East Fairmont’s gym this weekend for the inaugural East Fairmont Duals.
The competing schools will include every Big 10 team with the exception of Buckhannon-Upshur. In addition to those 12, Braxton County, Calhoun County, Independence and Hedgesville will take part in the event.
Wrestling will get under way at 9 a.m. today and resume at the same time Saturday morning.
“It’s 14 guys versus 14 guys,” East coach John Geary said of the format of this weekend’s dual tournament, where each team will wrestle five matches today and four more on Saturday. “It’s a little different. It gives us a chance to see who the strong individuals are in some weight classes, and allows us to seed everyone.”
East Fairmont used to attend a similar event, the Wheeling Park Duals, but made the decision this year to hold its own holiday wrestling event.
“(Wheeling) gave us a chance to wrestle guys from Ohio and Pennsylvania but we also spend a lot of money in traveling to these other tournaments,” Geary said. “This gives us a chance to stay home and hopefully break even rather than lose money.”
The tournament will also provide a chance for area high school teams to see some of its competition for the upcoming Winner’s Choice tournament, as well as February’s Class AA-A state tournament.
The Bees, who are at about the halfway point in their season, will be hosting their first home match all year after four road events.
This weekend’s Duals will feature five schools ranked in the most current West Virginia Coaches’ Association/wvmat.com Class AA-A team poll in East Fairmont (ranked third), Independence (fifth), Fairmont Senior (sixth), North Marion (seventh) and Calhoun County (eighth).
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Another big holiday tournament will begin today when Fairmont Senior hosts the Fairmont Senior Holiday Classic at the Woody Williams Armory.
The first-year event features 10 high school girls’ basketball teams and a total of 10 games spread out over two days.
The tournament schedule, which features all games being played at the Armory, is as follows:
Today — Pocahontas County vs. Clay-Battelle, 12:30 p.m.; East Fairmont vs. John Marshall, 2:15 p.m.; Robert C. Byrd vs. Hedgesville, 4 p.m.; Frankfort vs. North Marion, 5:45 p.m.; Braxton County vs. Fairmont Senior, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday — John Marshall vs. Hedgesville, 12:30 p.m.; North Marion vs. Pocahontas County, 2:15 p.m.; Robert C. Byrd vs. Braxton County, 4 p.m.; Fairmont Senior vs. Frankfort, 5:45 p.m.; Clay-Battelle vs. East Fairmont, 7:30 p.m.
Sports Editor Nick Cammuso contributed to this report.